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What Do You Do To Protect Your Heart? By Dr. Shani Saks

By Expert June 30, 2009 - 10:40am
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Being overweight means you have a higher risk for many other health problems, especially diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Dietary Guidelines. The dietary guidelines of the Arizona Heart Institute follow the concept of the Food Guide Pyramid developed by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, which was updated in 2005 to reflect changing lifestyles and nutritional requirements.

The Dietary Guidelines describe a healthy diet as one that:
•Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
•Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.

Take care of diabetes. High blood sugars—especially when combined with high blood pressure and abnormal blood fats, as they so often are in diabetes, damage blood vessels. In fact, blood vessel damage or cardiovascular disease causes all the long-term health problems associated with diabetes. Heart attacks, stroke and circulation problems are well-known forms of cardiovascular disease.

Take Charge: Remember whose blood vessels, health and life are at stake. You are the best person to lead because you have the most to gain.

Inform Yourself: A good diabetes education program is essential.

Monitor Standards of Care: Remind your health care provider when key tests and referrals are due.

Keep Records: Get copies of all your lab results. Keep them together and notice if things change, ask why!

Take Medicines as Prescribed: Most people need one or more medicines to keep blood sugars in the target range. Different medicines work in different ways. Taking more than one kind allows them to work together to provide stronger diabetes treatment. The number and type of medicines you need will probably change over time.

Be aware of chest pain. Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if you suffer from pain in your chest, shoulder, neck or jaw. Also notify your doctor if you experience shortness of breath or nausea that comes on quickly.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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